Friday, December 30, 2005

Saddle Ring Sling

A couple of years ago, Junior started toying with the idea of a better way to carry a rifle in the woods. He and I emailed back and forth about the idea, and we bounced it off of the guys at the Leverguns forum. After a couple of false starts, Junior came up with a way to carry a rifle using the saddle ring that comes with many lever action carbines.

Ironically, this isn't a new idea. The cavalry troopers of the Civil War used a sling much like this 140 years ago. The materials have been updated a for the modern age, but the sling is almost exactly what was carried out west by Custer and crew. You can make one from a standard sling with just a little extra webbing, a snap link, and some ingenuity.

A picture of a model carrying a Winchester 94, with a Saddle Ring Sling (SrS).

You will notice that the sling goes over the offside shoulder and holds the firearm action just below the belt line. Your hand falls naturally to that location. The firearm is suspended off the saddle ring, and the muzzle of the weapon is pointed at the ground. This is a non-threatening way to carry a firearm. If you look at pictures of GI's carrying firearms in Southwest Asia, you will see that they have adopted a muzzle-down carry. There is something psychologically non-threatening about seeing a weapon pointed at the ground.

However, with the Saddle Ring Sling (SrS), the rifle is ready to the hand and is capable of being employed instantly. Below is a picture of the rifle at the ready. Before anyone asks, blame my camera for the photo quality; the model's finger is off the trigger.

"Aaah," you say, "that is fine for lever action carbines. What about bolt rifles?"
Glad you asked.

Here is a picture with another model, using the SrS with a bolt action rifle. This one is a custom Mauser that will be featured soon on Castbullet. The advantages of the SrS are easily adapted to a bolt action. In this photo, the SrS is attached to the rear sling swivel.

Bringing the rifle to firing position is just as easy as with a lever action carbine. And yes, before you ask, that particular rifle has a common carry strap on it as well.

After using one of these slings for the past two days, I am convinced that the SrS is the best way to carry a rifle through the woods. It is secure, fast, convenient and practical. If you want one, you can build it yourself, or you can buy one here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Pawpaw went hunting with a buddy of his this morning. Junior and I have been hunting partners for about ten years now, and this was the first time I have been able to get away to do any hunting this year. My apologies to Junior. I'll try to do better in the future.

We went on some land that Junior has access to, a beautiful site along Little River in LaSalle Parish, LA. It is about 800 acres, give or take, and this morning Junior and I had it all to ourselves.

This view is from the end of the large slough, an old oxbow of Little River. This slough is about a mile long, and this perspective is about 200 yards from where we park the pickup. We are lucky that we are able to get to this land this late in the year. The land is subject to seasonal flooding. If you look at the picture, you can see last year's high water line in the trees along the slough.

No, we didn't kill anything. Junior saluted one doe that he has been watching this season, and I got the opportunity to fill my lungs with fresh air, get a little exercise, see some pretty country, and spend a couple of hours with a fine friend.

Not bad for a day's outing. We plan to do it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tactical, my ass.

I was just over at Say Uncle, and I read this post. No, I didn't go take the online test. I'm through with those damned things. The post served to remind me of something that has been galling me lately. The habit of calling things tactical. The word is an adjective and relates to using tactics.

The invasion of Europe in June 1944 was strategic. The plans that the troops used to get ashore were tactical. The First Gulf War was strategic. The envelopment of the Republican Guard was tactical.

Things aren't tactical. Light rails, boots, vests aren't tactical. They are equipment. The very use of the word Tactical supposes use on a battlefield. Put a white light on your firearm and employ it at night on a tactical battlefield and you will draw fire from every corner. White light can be ranged on using 1950's technology. Visible lasers reveal troop positions. If you are in a tactical situation you do not want those things. They get good people killed.

I listen to the young'uns on the SWAT team talk about tactical this and tactical that, and I want to puke. Equipment isn't tactical. Your brains are tactical. Your training is tactical. Your equipment is just equipment. Don't tell me about your new tactical boots. A tactical light rail? Surely you jest!


What next?

If you've ever been a jailer, you have seen these eyes. They tell a story.

So, what do the cops do when it is midnight, and they find somebody wandering nekkid in the streets? When the guy (it is nearly always a guy) is obviously not in control? When you have to wrestle him to the ground to put the cuffs on him? Why, you take his ass to jail.

The jailer sees those eyes, and he knows. Special precautions. It is the jailers job to care for, control, and protect the guy until someone with special expertise can determine what to do with him.

There is a little room in every jail for guys like that. A room where they can't hurt themselves. A room with no furniture. A room with a sheilded light bulb. A room that is easily cleaned. With a firehose if necessary.

Is the guy crazy, or just doped up? Twenty-four hours will tell us. Get his information from the arresting officer. Strip him naked and put him in the room. Watch him every fifteen minutes and don't let him hurt himself. We'll get him to the doctor tomorrow morning.

Most of the time, within 24 hours, the guy will eat something and start talking sense. He will be a little surprised that he is naked in a bare room.

The big change will be in his eyes.

Hat tip to Rob.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What makes a city?

I was surfing this morning and went over to the Bayou Buzz, and read this article, about the choices New Orleans needs to make to survive as an American city.

We find this little quote:
The TP also comments that “but if local leaders don’t consolidate behind a rebuilding plan within the next three months, population experts say that original-resident figure could drop to 20 percent”.
Read that again. The population could drop to 20 percent of what it was pre-Katrina. That is huge.

What makes a city? Why do cities form? Basically, a city is a bunch of people living in close proximity to share the benefits of living in a particular locale. They might live in close proximity for any number of reasons; for city services, for cultural opportunities, for business opportunities, to be near family, or just out of habit.

From my understanding of American History, most cities formed because of some unique natural resource that was easily exploitable. New York, Boston, and San Francisco were based on natural harbors and the ease of trade that cae from those harbors. New Orleans originally formed as a portage between two bodies of water. Houston grew out of the oilfield boom of the sixties and seventies. Dallas and Fort Worth came about during the stockyard era. You get the idea, I'm sure. Folks came, worked in the local industries and just stayed.

Cities that couldn't sustain a basic level of convenience, died. The silver mining towns of Arizona, Colorado, and Alaska are just shells of their former glory. All across America there are ghost-towns that sprang up to take advantage of something that are now just shells of their former selves, whether that something was timber, or coal, or oil, or whatever. When the boom was over, people left.

The autumn of 2005 brought us one of the great migrations of the modern era. One weekend in late August, about a million people just got up and hauled ass. Ran from a hurricane. Across southern Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, folks ran away. Then came Rita, slamming into Louisiana on the other side. More folks hauled ass.

Dale is living in a trailer, near the slab he called home. YRHT isn't back in New Orleans yet. Whizbang hauled butt too. There are a lot of bloggers who were affected, and many of those are making homes where ever they find opportunity. Some will come back, some won't. The recovery continues, and those that are left will have to figure out what happens next.

One thing is for damned-sure. The decision point is approaching for many of them. Move back to where they were before, or make a life where ever they landed. The other thing that is damned-sure is that Katrina and Rita were watershed political events for Louisiana. What passed for good politics won't pass for good politics any longer. The public is going to demand a change and the public that is left will get to vote.

With New Orleans one-fifth as big as it was, with Baton Rouge twice as large as it was, with evacuees scattered all across the United States, the demographic of New Orleans, and with it, the impact that New Orleans has on Louisiana politics will change. 2006 is going to be a big year for Louisiana politics. People will come back to New Orleans if it is attractive to do so. If not, they will stay away. There are a million individual decisions being made this week and they will firm up in the next month. Some will move home in time for the elections. Some will not.

The voters that are left will get to make the decisions. Those that stay away will also make a decision. Such is the manner of the American experiment. We may be watching the death of a boom town. The people will decide.

If I were Ray Nagin, I would start looking for work.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas is over

Christmas is over, in the sense that today is the 26th. Milady and I will probably take the tree down this week, and things are starting to return to normal. I went into the shop this morning and reloaded some .243 Win. I was actually toying with my Lyman 55 measure, trying to learn to use the thing.

The Lyman 55 is made of metal, and I had a problem with static electricity. Not enough of a problem to be a deal-breaker, but enough of a problem to be frustrating. There was enough static that the powder didn't want to flow properly and would sometimes get stuck in the small drop tube. I know that some powders exhibit static problems more readily than others, and I was using Alliant Powder this morning. I probably just need to get some mica or graphite and run it through the measure, to coat everything and slick it up some.

One of the toys I got for Christmas is a little combination powder pan and funnel that Lyman makes. You can see one here. That little powder pan/funnel is a time-saver. It works good, too. No spilled powder that I could blame on it. I accidently tried to double-charge a case, and spilled powder all over the bench, but that isn't the funnel's fault. That just shows that you should pay attention to details while making ammo.

Milady worked last night, so she is asleep. Hopefully she'll wake soon so Pawpaw doesn't have to tiptoe around the house.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dumb Online Test

Secluded Hideaway
You scored 13 out of 40 on urban-rural and 9 out of 40 land intensity.
People know you as: The Unabomber
Quote: "Other people make me sad."

Let's get something straight right off the bat: You don't much like other people. Your score indicates that you prefer a rural atmosphere to an urban one and the very lowest land intensities possible. You would be happy in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere or on a tropical island with no one - not even a beautiful naked islander - to keep you company. Above all, you yearn just to be left alone.

If you aren’t one already, you should consider becoming a hermit and moving to Montana.

Examples of places you should live: Mount Everest, Siberia

All Categories
Secluded Hideaway / Farm or Ranch / Small Town / Little City / Suburb / Streetcar Suburb / Rowhouse 'Hood / Downtown Loft

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on urban-rural

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on land intensity
Link: The Where Should You Live Test written by TwelveFloorsUp on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Christmas Cheer II

We had the children and grandchildren over this afternoon. We understand the hassle of seeing multiple parents on the holidays, so a month ago we asked for a consensus about when they wanted to come hang out with us. To a person, they voted for Christmas Eve. So, we celebrated today. Milady has to work tomorrow night, so she and I will hang out around the house tomorrow, eat leftovers and enjoy the Christmas day.

Pawpaw opened his heavy gift this evening, and was pleased to find a Lyman #55 powder measure and a spotting scope. Also in the package was a new Lee Reloading Manual and a new Nosler Reloading manual. I am truly pleased. In a related matter, my brother-in-law has been tinkering with a rifle in 260 Remington for his wife. Both manuals have complete loading infomation on that caliber and I will be happy to share with him. I haven't enjoyed a new reloading manual in five years, so these two are especially well recieved. I notice that Dick Lee has done some new research on cast bullet loads, with complete results on pressure and velocity on a number of calibers that normally use cast bullets. I will have to spend some time in those tables.

Milady was born in March of the year, and her collection of aquamarines was lacking. During a trip to my jeweler earlier this year I spotted a set with a ring and earrings. I had them on layaway and tonite she opened them. The sparkle in her eyes is complete.

The grandkids are gone to await Santa Claus. The dishes are washed. Pawpaw is preparing for a long winter nap.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Just talked to my youngest son, Joey. Joey doesn't share the same political view that Pawpaw shares. Joey is a bit more liberal than I, although he shares many of the same views on firearms. Joey is a bit of a gun nut. A liberal gun nut.

He told me to go to Google and search Failure. Hit the I'm Feeling Lucky button.

Heh. Cute. Real cute..

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Coming home from visiting my Dad this afternoon, I noticed a woodcock pitch into a little alder swamp beside the highway. I started watching in earnest and saw three more land in there before we had driven past.

I remember sauteeing woodcock in butter over an open fire. I remember another meal when we wrapped a bunch of woodcock in bacon, then covered them in onions and bell peppers and aluminum foil. Let them sit on the fire for an hour or so and pulled them out. Wonderful.

The woodcock is a weird looking little bird. His flight patterns are distainful of shotgunning and his little twinkling call is deceptive. With dark meat breasts and white meat legs, even his musculature is strange. Aaah, but stuff him with a piece of apple, sautee him in butter, then simmer him in a red wine reduction and you have a morsel fit for the gods.

That little swamp is posted, dammit.

Christmas Cheer

I have wrapped Milady's present and was putting it under the tree when I hefted a present that was... initially un-heftable. Damn thing is heavy. I looked at the tab, and it is marked "To Pawpaw". That package must weigh fifteen pounds. Or twenty.

One of the things on my wish list was the Lee Classic Cast Press. It is the only thing that might weigh that much. The other thing was the Lyman #55 powder measure (scroll down). Either would be wonderful. Both would be magnificent. Pawpaw is highly excited about Christmas morning.

Heh heh. Merry Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


This is just weird. Evidently, Mexico is protesting our plans to build a wall because... it is shameful to force someone to live in Mexico?
Mexican President Vicente Fox denounced the U.S. measures, passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, as "shameful" and his foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, echoed his complaints on Tuesday.
Why would the President of Mexico think it is shameful to keep his own people in his own country?

As I understand it, the wall is supposed to curtail illegal immigration. Legal immigrants, as always, are welcome to apply.

It gets better.
Jose Luis Soberanes, head of the government's National Human Rights Commission, suggested Mexico go further. "I would expect more energetic reactions from our authorities," Soberanes told local media. "It's preferable to have a more demanding government, more confrontation with the United States."
Yeah, right, Scooter. The last thing you want to do is get confrontational with the United States. Why do you think that we have Fort Hood, Fort Huachuca, Fort Irwin, and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center near the Southern Border?

The problem of the Mexican border is too complex to deal with in a few short sentences, but this article deserved a little fisking.

Shameful to keep Mexicans in Mexico. Yeah. Okay.

Merry Christmas, Mexico.

A Hunting Story

We were at the Sheriff's Christmas party last weekend, and I was sitting across the table from an old friend, a guy who has been in law enforcement forever. I think he probably gave roadside assistance to the Three Wise Men. We'll call him David, for the purposes of this story. You have to understand that bears have been recently reintroduced to north central Louisiana to understand the story.

"Been having trouble out on my deer lease", David said. "Thought I had hogs eating my deer corn. I went out one morning and found my feeder tipped over, and it looked like hogs had been rooting around it."

"Well, ", I replied, "shoot the hogs. I hear that pork is mighty good eating."

"It is! Pork is mighty fine, and we're gonna thin them out after the season." David mixed another drink. "I took a welder out there and welded anchors to the legs, then drove rebar spikes about two feet in the ground. It'll take a pretty good hog to push over that feeder now.

"Only problem is something is still getting my corn. Fifty pounds in two days. I set up one of those cameras to see what was getting my corn. Whaddya think I have pictures of?"

I shrugged.

"Bears. We have a momma bear with three little cubs. Momma has figured out that if she stands on her hind legs, she can spin the plate on the bottom of the feeder and corn will fall out. So momma bear spins the plate and the little bears eat the corn and momma bear spins the plate again."

"Hell, David... shoot her."

"Naw." David took a sip of his drink. "Can't shoot this bear. She's wearing one of them collars. You can see it and the antenna in the pictures. Sure as I shoot that bear, some Federal Boys with little black boxes will show up and wonder why the bear isn't moving. I'd be better off standing up right now, and shooting the Sheriff." he paused. "I don't think shooting the Sheriff is a Federal offense. Shooting that bear would be a bad thing."

Yeah, David best leave that bear alone.

Link Love

I'm off work for the Christmas vacation as of 2200 last night. Worked a basketball game, a fine contest between two high school rivals. The game came down to the last minute of regulation play, with each team striving mightily to outscore the other. All basketball should be played like those two teams played it last night. Home team won it in the last seconds and the crowd was considerably pleased.

I've got to run some errands today. I find I have been surfing the gun boards lately and enjoying the opinions there.

The first and best in the world of lever-action rifles is over at Go surf through there to learn what some old grizzled aficionados have to say about lever action shooting.

Then, for the more high-tech crowd, there is the forum at Kim duToit's place. Good stuff for firearms of all types, politics, reflection on things gunny.

Then there's the Woodsmoke section of Castbullet, where yours truly holds forth on a number of outdoor topics. This isn't a forum, but a compilation of essays I have written over the years. Looking at the sidebar, I notice I haven't published anything in that section in almost two years. Hmmm. Time to get busy.

Our selected reading list might give you some great last-minute gift ideas.

If you want to study blues music, there is the award-winning site that Junior publishes on music in the Mississippi Delta. Junior's Juke Joint. Music, food, frolic, and tales of people who habituate such places. Go give it a look.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Week

Light posting this week, and I apologize to my four-dozen readers. It is the week before Christmas, and I have been completely engaged. Cooking, entertaining, family-ing, and doing all manner of things that Pawpaws do before Christmas.

Today, for example, is Milady's office party and I am on the hook for two briskets, trimmed, sliced, and ready to go by 5:00 pm They have been on a low fire since 10:00 pm last night and are smelling mighty good. I've got to wash a sheet of plywood (half-sheet, actually) to slice them on.

You do not want to slice brisket in the kitchen. when a brisket is properly done, the fat cap melts and tenderizes the meat. When sliced, that liquid fat runs down across the counter and on to the floor. In just a matter of minutes, you can't stand up at the counter. It is easier to hose things down outside than to clean Milady's kitchen.

I've got a couple of errands to run, then the slicing begins. Wish me luck.

I hope all of you are having as much fun as I am this week, and I wish all of you a very merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Urban Camping

Over at Dax's place, he reminded me of a story.

One of the things a cop does is look for things that are out of place. Something that isn't where it is supposed to be is suspicious. Something else in a place where there is usually nothing is suspicious.

While I was in Natchitoches LA, I drove past a particular location every day. A stretch of heavily wooded riverbank on the Cane River. Right in town, it was a knarly,overgrown riverbank with weeds and vines and trees that covered maybe fifty feet to the river. It belonged to someone, but damned if I knew whom.

Early one spring morning I noticed a car parked on that stretch of road, next to the riverbank, and I made a mental note of it. Probably just someone fishing. Next day, the same car was there. Next day, same car. I decided to check it out.

There was a college student camped down there. He had one semester left before graduation, and had run out of rent money. He had enough to feed himself, put a little gas in the car, live like a hermit, but he was trying to finish college. He had a tent, and a camp stove, and had carved a little niche in the urban woodlands. He told me he left about an hour before classes every day and showered in the gymnasium. Then he went to work, then came back to his little campsite. Laundry at the laundromat. Winter was about over and he had scored some firewood from somewhere.

He asked if I was going to run him off. I told him that as long as the owners didn't care, I didn't either. I didn't have a complaint, so no problem. I was just being nosy. I saw his car regularly there during remainder of the semester, and after graduation he was gone.

I hope he got a good job. He wanted that education.

Stevens Model 62

My only .22 rifle is a Stevens Model 62. Originally marketed in Canada, I am unable to find much information about the little rifle. It is a full-sized .22, magazine fed, semi-automatic blowback action .22 rifle. It looks a lot (almost exactly) like the Savage Model 64F pictured below.

I picked this little rifle up at a pawn shop for about $100.00. Not a great deal, but it had a scope and it had mounting rings, so I figure I paid about $75.00 for the rifle, which makes it a good buy. I've had it since the early summer, and played around with it some, but never really got serious with shooting it.

The little rifle showed a liking for Remington subsonic ammo and I have four or five boxes of that ammo on my shelf. During National Ammo day, I picked up a bulk pack of Winchester XPert .22LR Hollowpoint. Standard velocity stuff, loose packed in a box.

This morning after shooting some centerfire, I picked up the little Stevens and put a couple of rounds through it. Then I posted a new target and did this with the bulk Winchester .22 ammo.

That is fifteen rounds, folks. At 25 yards, with the cheap Tasco scope whut came with the rifle. It is certainly capable accuracy for a squirrel rifle.

If you are fond of centerfire and are having a bad day at the range, pick up your .22 and put a few through it. More times than not, a good .22 has turned a bad day at the range into a good day. I feel a lot better after shooting those targets.

I've got some more experimenting to do with my .30-30 reloads. Oh, I can keep them on an SR-1 target all day, but I'm looking for that magical sweet spot, and I haven't found it yet. Just as I was getting discouraged, the little Stevens rifle saved the day for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

On Hope

Much has been made of the execution of Stanley Williams, both in the MSM and the blogs. Captain Ed, a blogger I read every day is opposed to the death penalty, for reasons that I think naive.

Grims Hall, another blogger on my favorites list, posts other arguments, but fails to take into account the simple human capacity for hope.

First, my credentials. I began my law enforcement career with the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Shortly thereafter, I went to work in the Division of Probation and Parole, a community based division of the department, where I worked as a Parole Officer. Parole Officers in Louisiana are fully accredited law enforcement officers, with the powers of arrest. I eventually retired from the LA DOC, and went to work as a jailer, with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office, where I rose to the rank of Lieutenant. I currently work for another agency, to be closer to my aging parents. I have worked in an around prisoners for virtually my whole career.

Captain Ed's naivete can be seen here:
When we have the person locked up, he should stay locked up -- and I mean locked up for good, and none of the Club Fed treatment, either. Three hots and a cot, and anything else depends on how well the prisoner behaves. That to me settles the entire case in a relatively expeditious manner without having twenty years of legal motions keeping the case alive.
Captain Ed wishes to quash hope.

An inmate in a prison has nothing but hope, and the astute prison administrator does nothing to diminish that hope because the behavior of the prisoners depends on it. Hope can come in many forms: That if a prisoner acts a certain way, he will make trustee; that if a prisoner completetes enough programs that he might be paroled; that if a person on death row gets the right lawyer, his sentence might be commuted; that if he is serving a life sentence, his lawyer might find procedural grounds to get it diminished; that if he serves long enough he will not be considered a threat. The list goes on and on. Tookie Williams had hope right to the last that his sentence would be commuted, and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. His hope was based on a number of things, but it was his nevertheless.

Hope keeps a prisoner stable, and by extension the whole prison on an even keel. Prisoners without hope can commit unspeakable atrocities inside a prison.

The problem comes when the system lies to the public. Lets take, for example, the case of Wilbert Rideau. Rideau was convicted in Calcasieu Parish, LA, in 1961 for the murder of Julia Ferguson during a botched bank robbery. He was sentenced to die, and later in the 60's the US Supreme Court threw out the death penalty.

The victim's relatives were told that Wilbert Rideau would serve the rest of his life in prison. That he would never be released. That he would die in prison garb.

Rideau went on to become the publisher of The Angolite magazine and became instrumental in changing prisoner treatment across the United States. He was hailed by various wardens as the most rehabilitated prisoner in the country. He continued his appeals and was freed in January 2005 after his fourth trial. He was convicted, 44 years after the fact, for Manslaughter and was released because his time in prison had exceeded the maximum sentence for that crime. Rideau is still a convicted killer, but he is free.

His release came as a slap in the face to the system that put him in jail. Four trials over a 44 year period are almost impossible to sustain. Witnesses die, evidence degrades, memories fade. Eventually, everyone will be given a reduced sentence. Wilbert Rideau is proof of that fact. He is a free man today.

In Williams case, it took 24 years between the trial and the execution. If the case had dragged on another twenty years, the outcome might have been totally different.

If a system locks up a prisoner and tells him that whatever he does is futile, then hope is destroyed. The destruction of the prison will come soon afterward.

I support the death penalty on philosophical and practical grounds. It is a penalty that prevents multiple crimes each year, by simply reminding inmates that killing another inmate, or a guard, that the death penalty can be applied. The death penalty also gives closure to victims, in that they know that the case is finally over. Nothing closes a case like the death of the perpetrator.

The fault lies in that the time period between the verdict and the execution is so long. I place that blame firmly on the Court system. The death penalty should be applied fairly, and fairly sooner than it is currently applied. Lengthy, time consuming appeals are common in our justice system. The time frames should be expedited in capital cases.

I reject the line of thought that says it costs more to execute a prisoner than to keep him alive. A length of rope, a box of ammunition, the cost of an electric chair, or in Tookie's case, a vial of sodium pentathol is less expensive than keeping him alive a year. The cost argument is disingenious at best. The cost comes from keeping the prisoner alive while interminable appeals are filed. Reduce the time that appeals stretch out, and the cost of executing prisoners will go down.

Oh! Almost forgot. Merry Christmas y'all.

Elections delayed

That's right folks, our own Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Blanco, has decided that the parish of Orleans isn't fit to hold elections. She signed a proclamation to that effect last Friday. The proclamation (PDF file) says it all.
"whereas, in order to ensure maximum citizen participation"
This isn't about destroyed polling places. This isn't about problems with voting machines. The reason this election is being postponed, plain and simple, is that the citizens that keep her in power have been scattered all over the United States.

You will also notice that the proclamation is only for Orleans Parish. It says nothing at all about Jefferson Parish, a traditional Republican stronghold. It says nothing about Plaquemine Parish. Just Orleans Parish.

Oh, no, folks. This is a power grab. Plain and simple. The voters that keep the Democratic machine in power have evacuated. The voters that could be counted on to maintain corrupt government have departed. We can't have an election now! The voters can't be counted on to keep us in power!


The legislature needs to start impeachment proceedings immediately. Governor Blanco is an embarrassment to Louisiana.


I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed, but the .30-06 Springfield cartridge will be 100 years old in 2006.

I just did a Google search on .30-06 and found 9.7 million entries. That is a lot of entries for a short search string. My father-in-law has a nice example. It is an Enfield action that was sporterized sometime in the early 60's. That old thing shoots good too, turning in Minute of Beer Can accuracy out past 150 yards with a variety of ammo. It has accounted for more than its share of game and more than its share of beer cans.

I don't own a .30-06, for a number of reasons. For a time in my shooting history, I liked blackpowder, muzzleloading, caplock rifles and shot those almost exclusively. For ten years my small battery of centerfire rifles was ignored as I came to appreciate that the old muzzleloaders were capable of fine accuracy and were not a handicap in the woods. Familiarity, in this case, bred confidence. In the thickets where I hunted deer, the possibility of a second shot was remote. The muzzleloader would take game with authority. Lead, powder, and pillow ticking were just about all I needed to replenish.

I still like blackpowder for teaching kids to shoot. After a time with a .22 rifle, teaching the proper way to handle a muzzleloader is good practice to reinforce gun safety. The front-stuffer will also stress the value of one aimed shot, along with teaching the basics of reloading centerfire cartridges. With a muzzleloader, it is easy to understand what is happening when you pull the trigger.

The first centerfire cartridge I reloaded was the .38 Special, which has been around forever in one incarnation or another. The jump to .357 came quickly. Nowadays I shoot mainly .30-30 Win and .45-70. Both of those cartridges are older than the .30-06. The one modern cartridge I currently reload for is the .243 Win, a recent derivation of the .30-06, via the .308 cartridge. Oh, and my son's 7mm Mag. I don't shoot it, I just reload for it.

Now that the .30-06 is a hundred years old, I guess it is more than a passing fancy of the gunwriters. I guess I should put one on layaway and see if it is really as good as people say it is. After the first of the year, I'll put one on layaway. Bolt action, of course, probably a Savage. I see that Stevens in re-entering the rifle market, and that might be a good value.

I wonder how many of the modern cartridges released last year will still be with us, going strong, in 2106?

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Arnold makes the decision.

I notice that Governor Schwarzenegger has decided to let Tookie Williams launch into eternity. So be it.

As a Christian, and as a human being, I hope that Williams has redeemed himself with his works in these past 24 years. Everyone deserves a chance to change. I can't judge his redemption, nor can I judge the state of his soul. Those questions are properly left to God.

What I can judge is his actions. Tookie Williams took four lives, and as far as I have seen, has never shown remorse for those four people. He wrote some books, and decried the gang culture that he helped found. No rational person can look at the evidence of the case and believe with a reasonable doubt that Williams is innocent of four counts of murder. His case is precisely why we have a death penalty.

The evidence and trial were conducted correctly. The jury imposed the sentence based not on the soul of Tookie Williams, but on the evidence in the case. We judge evidence in this country, not people. Twelve people decided that Williams is guilty and should pay with his life. Each of the several courts who have looked at the evidence have agreed with the jury. Governor Schwarzenegger agrees with the jury. So be it.

If my faith is correct, Tookie Williams will soon have an opportunity to plead his case yet again. The judge of souls will try him in the balance. I hope his redemption is complete. May God have mercy on his soul.

I hope everyone of you has a Merry Christmas.


I watched President Bush answer questions at a conference video'd by MSNBC. Good stuff, where he talks about democracy and Iraq and North Korea and how the GWOT is going. Go see it here. It is eighteen minutes of video, so watching it on high-speed might make sense.

He looked good, and he handled questions easily. I wish he would have spent some time talking about immigration policy, but he didn't. He had a handle on the GWOT, and he was gentle with obviously hostile questioners. He had the crowd laughing with him. This was George Bush in fine form.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

B & B Consulting

Great name for a company that Jeff Crouere thinks should have a big future in the consulting business.
Since Governor is obviously not the correct role for Blanco, I have been trying to figure out what is the best match for her many talents. Then, it hit me. She should form her own fashion consulting business with another guy who just lost his job and has started out as a consultant, former FEMA Director Michael Brown. Brown, the self-titled “Fashion God,” who was crowing about his tie selection and was getting such priceless fashion advice like “roll up your sleeves like President Bush” and Blanco our “Liz Claiborne” Governor, what a team!
The article looks at the conduct of our Governor in the hours immediately before Katrina landfall. Aides emails recently made public have enlightening fashion tips for the Governor on the Go. Somehow, I don't think that she and Michael Brown could be in the same room together, much less run a successful company. Too bad. They could give each other fashion advise.

Blanco herself admitted last week that she doesn't use email. That is quite an admission from a governor who wants to be seen as a friend of technology.

It is time for a governor that knows how to use email.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas in Ball

Today was the day of the Big Christmas Parade in Ball, Louisiana. Ball is a bedroom community outside of Pineville, LA on the Monroe Highway.

As an aside, way back in the early 70's I dated a girl that lived on the Ball Cut-Off Road. We called it Castration Lane, back then.

Fast forward to 2005, and Santa came to Ball this afternoon. Pawpaw had grandkids in the parade, so pictures are in order. The Ball parade has everything.

We start, of course, with the flag. American soldiers carrying the flag. Whoo-Hoo.

Then come the Shriners in their little trucks.

Then, the local car club with the Model T

My grandson, waving at a politico. I think this was the Mayor, who was throwing candy.

Then, we have Grannies in Red Hats. I bet that bunch is hard to handle. Wonder how they got them all on the same trailer?

Then, a big stuffed GI, waving at the crowd and supporting the National Guard.

Pretty girls in red suits. Compliments of the marching band.

More pretty girls in the marching band.

Pretty girls in convertibles. This one is the Queen of the Parade.

Old fart on a tractor. That is an 8N Ford tractor by the way, painted in the grey and red that Ford used for many, many years.

Pretty girls on pickup trucks. You can see where Pawpaw's lens tended to focus. Pretty girls are always a drawing card, and they know how to grow them around here.

Kids from the local elementary school on a utility trailer. They each had their own bag of candy to throw. The little one in the middle, looking at the camera is the kid that made Pawpaw into a Pawpaw.

Small town parades are the best, I think. I didn't photograph everything, of course, just what interested me. Things like kids and tractors and pretty girls and more pretty girls. No pictures of politicos here, as they tend to spoil the fun.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Death in Mississippi

There has been much ado made of the case of Cory Maye, an inmate on death row in Mississippi. Rightfully so, in my opinion. This case smacks of everything that opponents of the death penalty claim is wrong with the system.

I support the death penalty as a retributive form of punishment that society demands. I also think that the death penalty should be fairly applied in those cases where the facts support it. I don't feel that the facts (as reported) support the death penalty in this case.

The facts are basically this: Cory Maye is (was) a law-abiding citizen of Prentiss, MS. The police department was executing a search warrant for drugs at the house where Maye was living. The police were unaware that the house was a duplex and when they executed the warrant, they broke into the wrong side of the house. Maye heard people breaking into his home, late at night. He was there with his 18-month old daughter. Maye used a firearm against the intruders who then identified themselves as police officers. Maye was convicted of killing a police officer and is currently on death row in Mississippi.

The defense team claims that Maye was improperly convicted, both on the facts of the case and the make-up of the jury. It helps to understand that Maye is black and the jury was white. It helps us to understand the verdict when we learn that the officer killed was the son of the local Chief of Police.

If the facts in this case are as presented, then it is a tragedy of the worst sort. Any time an officer is killed, it is a tragedy. Any time a man is wrongly convicted, it is a tragedy. Any time racism rears its ugly head, it is a tragedy. There may be more tragedies here that I haven't identified.

Police officers know that serving no-knock warrants is a dangerous exercise. Specialized training, briefing, and rehearsal is necessary before executing such a warrant. Timing is everything. Speed and surprise are necessary to overwhelm the senses of the occupants so that by the time the occupants think "What the Hell is going on?", the operation is over.

This operation went dreadfully wrong, and in a residence where it wasn't supposed to occur. The fact that a police officer is dead is a testament to the danger that such operations entail. Yet, Cory Maye was defending his family against violent intruders in the early morning hours. I can't fault him for that.

The one saving grace of this case is that it is subject to review at the appelate level. I'm sure that a good defense team will mitigate the sentence, and may be able to get it overturned on any number of grounds, not the least of which is that it seems like a miscarriage of justice.

I believe in the system of justice that works for all the people. As a twenty-five year police veteran, I have put many people behind bars. I have worked cases where the death penalty was ultimately applied. I believe there was justice done in those cases. I also believe that the police have to be careful in their use of force, their execution of warrants, and in the intelligence we rely on in planning a dangerous operation. If we err, we must err with the full knowledge that what we do is dangerous and that people might die.

If the facts of this case are as reported, I could support the immediate release of Cory Maye. You won't find me saying that about many death row cases.

Merry Christmas.

Hiking in Cuba

I've noticed the moonbats walking across Cuba as a protest to protest treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Recently, LGF highlighted their activities. Then comes this quote:
“We don’t know how far we can get, so every step forward is an amazing thing,” said Shelia Stumph, a 28-year-old marcher from Raleigh, N.C.
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't American citizens proscribed from visiting Cuba? I thought it was illegal for a US citizen to even step foot on Cuban soil outside of Guantanamo Bay? Are these idiots protesters in violation of US Law?

Almost forgot: Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Sure was Thursday, today. All day long. It has been a long time since five a.m., and Pawpaw had a rough day. However, everyone I love is home safe and warm, supper has been served and tomorrow will bring us to the weekend. I look with pleasure on a weekend with nothing much to do.

One beam of light is that my son, who has been unemployed since Hurricane Rita, landed a job today with Procter and Gamble, the soap people. He is going to be working in a warehouse, moving product from pallet to trucks. The pay isn't as good as he would like, but P&G is a company a fellow can move up in, grow with, and retire from. I have every expectation that with his work ethic and dependability, he will do just fine there, and might make a career in the soap industry.

Tomorow after work, I am going to secret myself into the shop and spend the evening reloading. I have a bunch of brass out there that needs filling. Saturday, or maybe Sunday, I'll get out to the range and empty some brass. It's a hobby.

I note with distaste, the latest Canadian gun-grab. The slippery slope from registration to confiscation seems even more slippery tonight.

To all my readers, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas carols

There is a teacher at school who sings in the church choir, and is forever singing Christmas carols. Those melodies stick in my head, and I've been whistling Christmas carols all day. Evidently, the Christmas season is upon us.

Some want to turn this into the Holiday Season, and to them I say Merry Christmas.

Pawpaw will celebrate Christmas in his own way, in his own style, and the Christ child will be prominent in the festivities.

So, to all my half-dozen readers and to anyone else who might stumble upon these poor writings I say Merry Christmas. May the season of the Christ child be joyous for all of you and may the season see each of you in safe, warm, spirited quarters for the celebration.

As a matter of fact, I think that I will end each blog post, from now till the New Years with a simple closing as a way of focusing on the Christian aspect of the season.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Trial coverage

Saddam Hussein is showing his ass.
Later, at the end of the session, when the judges decided to reconvene Wednesday, Saddam suddenly shouted that he would not attend. "I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!" Saddam yelled.
I've seen things like that in a criminal trial. The proceedings start to go belly up for the defendant, and suddenly it isn't much fun anymore.

Tough Shit.

They ought to bind him and gag him and drag him into the court. Let his attorneys talk for him. Then, when it is over, take him out and hang him.

The world will be a better place without that megalomaniac.

I want one

This oughta piss the hoplophobes off.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Barrett XM109 Payload rifle. The Barrett webpage tells us:
Providing Light Fighters with AP lethality out to 2000 meters, the Barrett XM109 25MM Payload rifle will allow soldiers to engage and quickly destroy enemy light armor. Like the M107 .50 caliber LRSR, the XM109 has accuracy, lethality and legendary Barrett reliability. The XM109 is destined to be a tremendous war fighting asset in the military arsenal. Full rifles or upper conversion units for the M107, including the bolt, upper receiver, and magazine, are available.
If the anti-gunners don't like the Barrett .50 cal rifles, they'll really hate this one. If you have never seen what 25mm ammo can do to light armor, then you haven't been downrange with me at Peason Ridge. There are vehicles there that have been shredded by that stuff. The ammo comes in two flavors, if I remember correctly; AP and HE. Either one will do a number on light vehicles. This firearm is only available to the military. Still, I want one.

Ronnie Barrett just gave our boys a big boost.

Hat tip to Ravenwood.

UPDATE: For those of us who insist on inch designations, that 25mm comes to approx 0.984

Increasing the odds

What are the chances? You put a single-barrel pistol to your head and pull the trigger, that it won't go off?
The shooting Nov. 18 at Zorn's home in this rural village of 2,000, about 50 miles northeast of Dayton. Family, friends and law enforcement officials believe it was accidental.
Uuuh, no. That was no accident.

My condolences to the family, my heartfelt condolences. The article said that he was drinking to celebrate a record deal. Alcohol and gunpowder never mix.

Crouere signs in.

Jeff Crouere signs in on the New Orleans elections, and makes some points I didn't consider. New Orleans needs elections now. If not in February, then sooner than later. We sure don't need to wait till September, since September normally puts us into a new hurricane season.

The Bayou Buzz is one of the listings on my personal favorites list. If you follow Louisiana politics, you should consider putting it on your list too.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blogger Down?

I'm trying to get in, by posting a post. I can't access a couple of Blogger weblogs that I routinely watch, so I think it is down. I've tried two different browsers and the problem is the same. I'll try to put this up, then check things later.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Postponing elections?

Oh, come on! If Republican incumbents tried to cancel elections, the whole world would come to a stop. The voters would demand immediate resignations. Political careers would be lost. The only time I have ever seen an election postponed, it was a tax election (no one was running for office) and it was postponed for a week. One week. Seven days.

But when the Democrats recommend it:
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the entire City Council and a host of other local elected officials likely will remain in office beyond the four-year terms scheduled to end May 1, after Gov. Kathleen Blanco agreed Friday to postpone the city's Feb. 4 municipal elections.

Fulfilling a pledge she made weeks ago, Blanco accepted a recommendation to delay the elections handed down earlier in the day by Secretary of State Al Ater, the first time a mayoral election has been deferred in the city's modern history. Ater did not recommend a make-up date but said logistical challenges presented by Hurricane Katrina could push back the balloting to Sept. 30.

Hold the elections. Let the voters speak. The elections are supposed to be held in February. The City has taken a hit. No doubt about that, but holding elections is one way to start getting back to normal. In this case, we have a Democratic governor and a Democratic mayor. So let's extend the terms for seven (7) months. Bullshit!

This is ludicrous on its face, yet the bums in office are going to get away with it. If the voters of New Orleans retain Ray Nagin in office, they deserve him. If the voters of Louisiana retain Katherine Blanco in office, then we have lost our collective minds.

UPDATE: Whizbang did a great job of covering this story. Go here to see the analysis from a voter on the ground.

On the Left

What a rant! I was surfing over at Bill Hobbs site, and found this in comments by John Blake.
These ventings are so totally lacking in substance, so absurdly without logic or any sense of political give-and-take, that one has to conclude: The Left has lost it. Outwardly normal, educated, functional intelligences have succumbed to a bi-polar disorder rooted in narcissism that now borders on megalomania. These people exhibit true psycho-pathological behaviour marked by paranoia, raging obsession, self-identification with "mass movement." They are Eric Hoffer's "True Believers", T.S. Eliot's "hollow men"; Yeats warned against them, saying "an intellectual hatred is the worst."

You cannot argue with these people; and yet, they stand for nothing. Any suggestion that they propose alternatives, or acknowledge that "9/11 mattered", is met with vile obscenties, choking rage. Whence cometh this descent to idiotarian repugnance? I think it's because their phony little elitism is threatened-- the world has changed. Their extreme reaction seems a juvenile-regression syndrome, incapable of distinguishing wishfulness from adult reality. For anyone who has not experienced these people in person, meeting one will come as a surprise. They are hateful, malignant, totally unprincipled. They admire Castro and Saddam. They will advance literally any cause, if it contravenes bedrock American
principles of civil liberties, free-market enterprise, self-defense.
Posted by: John Blake at December 4, 2005 05:36 PM
Good stuff. While my liberal friends (that is to say, those I actually know either personally or through correspondence) don't sound like raving moonbats, I have noticed a decided trend toward decreasing politeness in the public discourse. Perhaps it is because I routinely go armed. Who knows?

There was precisely one true, died-in-the-wool academic, intellectual liberal that I have run across in my many travels. This one and I attended the same writers group during the 1990's. I could get him started by simply asking questions, much as an attorney does during cross examination, then when the time was right I would show him the error of his arguments through simple interrogation. Quite charmingly, he would throw a temper-tantrum and storm off into the night, slinging invective.

I would then put on my "good ole country boy" routine and apologize to my hostess, claiming that I was just asking questions, trying to make up my own mind.

It was a lot of fun.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I am reminded that this is the weekend of the Army-Navy game.

Football as it was meant to be. This is a huge rivalry, against a sister service, in the spirit of friendly competition. These players aren't playing for scholarships. These players aren't playing for the NFL draft. These young men are already in the service of our country, and have jobs when they graduate. Some of them will be career officers, some of them will leave the service. Some of them will die in a lonely field, far from home. All of them are heroes.

The cadets and midshipmen are already chosen for their athletic prowess, their academic skills, and their proven well-roundedness. They have no real reason to play a football game, except that football is an American game, and the Army-Navy game is an honorable contest.

All the soldiers in the field and all the sailors on the sea will try to catch a little of the game tomorrow, either on the radio, or on a television if they are lucky.

Go Army!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


You know how snippets of conversations run through your head?

Yesterday I was talking with a lady whose car was sporting an officers DOD sticker from Fort Polk, LA. She told me that her husband is an Infantry officer, with 12 years of active service. He is about to be promoted to Major (04) and has orders to a battalion scheduled to go to Iraq. I asked if this was his second tour, and she said that No, this is his first tour to the Middle East. He was in Kosovo during the late '90's and really liked it over there. He doesn't have a CIB yet because he hasn't been in an active combat zone.

Now, the next night, I am sitting at my desk, thinking. How the hell could a career soldier, an infantryman with 12 years of service, have not yet been to Iraq or Afganistan?

Evidently the rotations are not as bad as they seem, or this guy is a REMF of the highest caliber.

Kimber, Remington, and Winchester.

My most linked-to post, my most-read post so far, is about the Remington Model 870 Express shotgun that I bought a couple of months ago. I have shot that shotgun exactly eight times. It looks exactly like this, with the exception of an Ace Case butt cuff that holds five additional rounds.

Evidently everyone likes looking at pictures of firearms, so I have decided to boost hits and give my readers a little gun porn, of the rest of my personal, every day, behind the seat of the truck, SHTF battery.

My personal favorite pistol right now, (I am so fickle), is my Kimber Custom. It rides on my hip every day and is within arms reach right now. Chambered in the standard .45 ACP, it is my go-to gun for serious social work.

The shotgun rides behind the seat of my pickup, along with an old Winchester Model 94 in the standard .30-30. I am a beat cop. I don't draw a cruiser unless something special is happening. My pickup truck is always within 50 yards of me, and often closer than that. If the SHTF and I have to go for the truck, the plan is that the Kimber will keep them peeled off me until I can unlimber the shotgun. If the range is long then the rifle is a close choice.

That Model 94 is my favorite rifle. I shoot it regularly. I have no doubt that out past 125 yards, I can deal grief to however wants to do me personal damage. I routinely practice head shots out to 50 yards. Yeah, it looks like hell, but it shoots like a new one. Basically, because the inside is new.

Before you start denigrating the Winchester, consider this. It holds seven rounds of good old .30-30 goodness. Another nine rounds ride on the butt, with another forty rounds easily to hand. I like carrying plenty of rifle ammo. It isn't an M4 clone, and it uses a large, heavy bullet. It will put down goblins with authority. It isn't a black rifle, so it won't scare the citizenry, especially in mainly rural Louisiana. I shoot it regularly, a couple of times a month. I have no doubt what it is capable of doing. I also have no doubt it will do what I ask it to do.

That is my working battery. Those three go with me everywhere. Commenters are free to consider my choices.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

93 Mustang

If blogging is light, one reason is because I have been busy as hell at work, and the oter is that my daughter's car needs a clutch. She drives a 93 Mustang, the little body style, with a four-banger engine. The car is a rag, but it is paid for. All my boys learned to drive (and more importantly, to work on cars) driving ragged-out vehicles.

This, however, is my daughters car, and I am busy as hell at work. So, the mechanic work has to wait till after work. The clutch died yesterday. My stepson and I pulled the transmission today, installed the new clutch, stabbed the transmission and got the bell housing bolts installed, and ran out of daylight.

Tomorrow afternoon we will reassemble the little car. We need to re-attach the exhaust system, install the starter, install the cross-brace, attach the electronics and the speedometer, install the gear shift lever, trim the inside, install the clutch cable, adjust it for proper engagement, and get the car down off the blocks. We should be finished tomorrow afternoon, as long as things go reasonably well.

Mechanic work is physically rewarding, in that the two of us worked together today for a common cause, and the work went reasonably well. We used muscles that don't get used every day. I'm sure I will feel it tomorrow.

The hard part is done, that being stabbing the transmission. Any shadetree mechanic knows that is the hard part. The rest is reassembly. Still, Pawpaw is tired. Dogged out. Ragged.

I am, in fact, blogging in my pajamas. I intend to go watch TV in the bedroom, through my feet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Abramoff is a bipartsian donator.

Oh, please! Captain Ed is all over this.
New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients.
A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record)'s political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff's clients wanted to use.

The check was one of about five dozen the Coushattas listed in a tribal ledger as being issued on March 6, 2002, to various lawmakers' campaigns and political causes at the instruction of Abramoff, tribal attorney Jimmy Fairchild said Monday.
Captain Ed draws the following conclusion:
However, let's quit pretending that Abramoff represents some sort of Republican "culture of corruption" and instead acknowledge that the sleaze has a much more ecumenical stench than the Democrats want to acknowledge
Indeed. This whole thing just pisses me off.

Report from Iraq

Senator Joe Leiberman (D-Connecticut) reports in todays Wall Street Journal Online (registration required) that his view of the democracy in Iraq is optimistic, as is the view of the Iraqis themselves:
Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.
When he speaks of progress, he is quite specific.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
My conversations with persons recently back from Iraq don't square with the Gloom and Doom we have heard recently from the mainstream press. Sure, there are still bombs, and there is still fighting, but folks I talk to are optimistic about the progress made in Iraq. Senator Leiberman's article seems to support the reports I am hearing.

Acidman Returns

Ole Rob, our host over at Gut Rumbles has returned from rehab. What changes might be wrought to his blog are yet to be seen, but I suspect that his particular brand of blogging will survive and his views will be more focused than before.

What Rob did took a lot of courage. His mission now is to have enough strength to follow through. I have no doubt he will excel at that task.

Go give him some love.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday evening

The grandchildren just went home. We have a Sunday afternoon tradition that everyone comes to our house for the evening meal on Sunday. Tonite my oldest son wanted to cook steaks on the grill, and I wanted to try a dirty rice recipe. We had both, with garlic toast and bratwurst. Just because we wanted it.

After supper, I conned my daughter into cutting my hair. Cutting my hair is easy, as she puts a #4 guard on the clippers and runs wildly across my head, cutting anything in the way. There is not much art, nor craft, in my haircut. I am shorn now, for another month.

Tomorrow, back to the grind. The uniform has the accouterments on it, and the leather is freshly polished. I've been off all week, and my sleep pattern reflects my sloth. Five a.m. is going to come awfully early, so in another hour or so, it's off to bed for Pawpaw.

Earlier today I loaded some .45-70, with the incomparable Lee 459-500-3R bullet. All the bulets are lubed with Junior Lube. My hasic load is 3.4 cc's of H777, with a grease cookie. Slight crimp, as it will be fired in the Sharps rifle. This load gives me almost MOA accuracy and I have settled on it as the standard load for that rifle. That load gives me 1128 fps. The recoil is interesesting without being punishing. It closely approximates the load that was used in the 1870's to eradicate the buffalo herds on our Great Plains. I have no doubt it would be just as effective today.

I haven't picked up a newspaper in over a week. I'm sure something is happening beyond the range of my scopes, but I am ignorant of it. Tomorrow morning will be soon enough to find out if we have won the war yet. Good night, all.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It is raining tonite, and I made the last of my Thanksgiving visits, to Momma's house down the road. My four sisters will leave tomorrow morning. It was good to see them. They are scattered across Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana. We get together three or four times a year.

I came home in the rain, to a quiet house, and opened a bottle of brandy I have been saving for just such an evening. Tonite is for contemplation. For the silence of the soul, and I think that the rain has something to do with that. The sound of rain is probably the oldest sound upon the porches of man's ears. It is a universal sound, the same where ever it is heard. Whether the jungles of Southeast Asia, or the mountains of Tennessee, a gentle rain sounds like history.

I'm sure that there are genetic memories in the ancient stimuli. A touch, a sound, a taste, all with knowledge that our forefathers knew instinctively. Even in the short span of my life, the sound of rain brings back many memories. Of terror in a darkened alley, of ecstasy in a candlelit bedroom.

The brandy helps against the chill of the evening. To toast an absent friend and to recall a night of unreserved passion. Listening to the rain on a darkened porch with a snifter of brandy is a time ponder what has been and what might be.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Gumbo

If your menu lately has been like mine, you've eaten enough turkey. I personally think that if I have to look at that carcass in the fridge much longer I am going to go crazy. We've eaten two turkeys this week. One carcass has already been deboned. The second one sits in the refrigerator, awaiting my tender mercies. It shan't have long to wait. Today I get my fridge space back, by the simple tradition of making Turkey Gumbo.

Your basic recipe be found here. The roux is very important, and instead of using a quarter cup of flour and oil, I am going to use a half cup of each. This is going to be big gumbo. Unlike Junior, I am going to cook mine in the kitchen.

Once the roux is made, I am going to sautee some onions, bellpepper, and celery, then fry some smoked sausage. The left over turkey will be deboned and go in the pot along with a cup of okra. Add the aforementioned veggies, the sausage, the roux, and some water. Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for an hour or so.

The kids and visitors are ready for something different. Turkey gumbo always gets the nod for the friday after Thanksgiving. Served over rice this evening, it will feed a bunch of people and use leftovers as something new and different. Give it a try on your stove. I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On Thanksgiving

Instapundit (yeah, he needs the hits) links to two pieces that talk about Thanksgiving. The first thanks the faceless folks that support the troops in the field. The second talks about the historical revision of Thanksgiving, and all holidays, based on the need for white men to hold power.
Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.
Gimme a break. I have g-g-g-grandparents who were Native American. Yeah, the whites acted rudely, but peoples everywhere act rudely. It is not a solely American trait.

I'm giving thanks this week, not for revisionist history, but for my own history.

My last name is German in origin, based on the fact that my paternal great-great-great grandfather migrated here with five brothers to escape a famine. It could just have easily been Scot, Irish, French, British, or Native American, depending on who decided to marry who in the late 19th century. I am 1/32nd Native American, based on a Mississippi Choctaw woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer in the country outside Jackson, MS. My namesake German grandfather hit the shores about the same time. I carry as much German blood in my veins as I carry Native American. I carry about an eighth French, based on my maternal g-g-grandparent who came to Louisiana following the British rudeness in Acadia.

I am a blend of about six different national origins, all who decided that the United States was the best place to raise a family. They integrated, assimilated, and took the best of every culture to make something unique. Me. The fact that my last name is Germanic is solely an accident of patrimony.

This week, I give thanks for that Native woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer as part of the American experiment. I give thanks for those German immigrants with the unwieldy last name. I give thanks for the French who were driven from their homes and came to wet, humid Louisiana. I give thanks for all who came before.

So, this week, with grandkids streaming in and out the doors of this modest home, I give thanks that we are here, in the great hope of the world. Part of the great American experiment, part of the greatest democracy this world has ever known. I give thanks that we are sheltered, and fed, and loved, and that my grandchildren have an even chance of being better than I am.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Processing wheelweights

After writing the turkey post, below, I went outside to my shed to do some straightening. I found a quarter bucket of wheelweights out there and decided to process them, so I set up the turkey cooker and got out my lead pots so that I could melt the raw wheelweights into something useful.

Once you melt lead in a pot, it can never be used again for food. Mark it, or segregate it so that no one will mistake it for a food implement. Lead is a poison when ingested orally. It isn't healthy to have it shot through you, either, but that is another story.

Anyway, I processed the remaining wheelweights and now I have clean ingots ready for the bullet pot. I use two basic ingot molds when I am cleaning raw lead, so I can remember what is wheelweight and what is pure lead. The wheelweights go into an old cornbread stick pan. The pure lead goes into a Lee ingot mold. Were I concerned with having ingots of a particular alloy, I would get a third mold to cast those ingots, so that the varying ingots could be instantly identified.

Cornstick lead is wheelweights, Lee ingots are pure lead. If I was needed to keep ingots of Lyman #2, or linotype, I would simply get anther ingot mold. Maybe a starburst mold, or a Lyman mold. Something distinctive.

Simple, no?

Frying a turkey

Frying turkeys is a big deal here in Louisiana, where we are apt to fry anything that walks, flies, swims or crawls. Out in my shed, I have my turkey frying gear set up, ready to go.

You need a little specialized equipment, like this:

You can get this equipment anywhere. A simple Google search shows that Target has them.

Turkey frying is best done outdoors, because you are going to make a damned mess. I guarantee it. Any fool who fries a turkey indoors runs a very real risk of burning down the house. Be forewarned.

It isn't hard to fry a turkey if you follow a few reasonable steps. First off, find a safe place, where an oil spill can be ignored or cleaned easily. Then, weigh your turkey. It is crucial that you know exactly the weight of the bird, because that will determine the frying time. Lets say you have a 12.5 pound turkey. You are going to fry it for three minutes per pound. 12.5 X 3 = 37.5. You are going to fry that bird for 37.5 minutes.

Thawing a turkey is an exercise in itself. Follow the label directions on the bird. Follow them exactly. Salmonella isn't anything to trifle with. It is now Tuesday morning. If I wanted to fry a turkey for the noon meal on Thursday, I would begin thawing the turkey this afternoon.

The turkey must be thawed, and some seasoning helps. I like to thaw my turkey, then place it in a garbage bag, pour in some italian dressing, some beer, some cayenne pepper, then seal the bag and let the turkey marinate in that mixture for six or eight hours. Some folks like to inject the bird with marinade. Whatever floats your boat.

When your turkey is thawed, marinated, and you have the equiment set up in a safe spot outdoors, the following steps are crucial.

1. With everything off, everything cold, put the turkey into the pot. Fill the pot with oil until the turkey is covered in oil. Remove the turkey. The amount of oil in the pot is the proper amount. Some people fill the pot with oil, get it hot, then add the turkey. They are considerably surprised when the turkey displaces oil, and the oil runs down the side of the pot, starting a fire and making a hell of a mess. Do it my way, and have a big enough pot. When the cold turkey goes in the hot oil, there will be a certain amount of sizzling and bubbling and you need enough pot to contain the bubbling.

2. With the turkey out of the oil, light your fire, and start heating your oil. It will take a few minutes to bring the oil to the 360 degrees F that is necessary for frying. A good frying themometer is essential. Once the oil is up to temerature, add the turkey carefully.

3. Start your timing. Monitor your temperature. Adjust the fire to keep 360-375 oil temperature. When the time is over, carefully remove your bird from the oil and enjoy. The outer skin will be crisp and totally brown. The flesh of the bird will be flavorful and juicy.

4. Bon Apetit. While you are eating, and enjoying the adulation of your guests, let everything cool. You can clean the mess outside later.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sex Offender Update

I retired from the Louisiana Division of Probation and Parole in 2000. They, along with the various Sheriffs and the Louisiana State Police, are required by law to track the residence of known sex offenders and keep the public informed.

During the Katrina/Rita festivities, I happened to speak to a member of the Alexandria office and he told me frankly that there were a bunch (read hundreds) of sex offenders that left New Orleans in the evacuation, and he thought that there were a significant number that left Southwest Louisiana during Rita.

I don't doubt it.

The agents of the Division of Probation and Parole are some of the finest cops you will find anywhere. Regardless of their own safety they track known violent offenders and monitor compliance with court order and orders from the various Boards that release prisoners.

A street cop deals with 99% law abiding citizens. A Parole officer deals with 90% known felons. My last ten years with that agency I arrested hundreds of offenders, and never made a misdemeanor arrest. They were all felony busts. During the last 12 years I carried three parole officers to their graves. Two had been murdered.

Tracking sex offenders is a pain in the ass. A high stress job with no hope of success. The work is never done, and when a local agency calls at 3:00 a.m., you put on your pants, stap on a gun, and go. Kiss your wife before you leave the house, and look in on the kids. You may never see them again.

Anyway, the Division has made available a list of known registered sex offenders that they cannot account for. The list is here. Go view it. All the links are clickable and give you a picture and quick background on the offender.

If you happen to see any of these offenders, contact your local police department and lead them to these links. These folks are dangerous to your community. They may be armed. Do not try to apprehend them yourself. Call the police.

These people are convicted sex offenders. Warrants have been requested because they are not in compliance with Louisiana Law. They have not registered their address and they might be living in your community. If you see one of these offenders, call the police.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

White Box Ammo

I was late getting to Wal-Mart today and went directly to the ammo counter. I got the attention of the woman behind the counter.

"I'd like to see what you have in your Winchester Value Packs." I asked.

"Okay. I'm out of .38 Special, .357 magnum, and .40 S&W. I've got some .45 Auto 230 grain and .22 Long Rifle."

I grinned. "My favorite. Can I have one of each?"

"Okay," she asked. "What's going on? Guys have been coming in here today asking for Winchester white box. I there something special about that ammo?"

"No, ma'am. Just a bunch of us internet guys are going to Wal-Mart stores today, trying to buy ammo. Trying to make a statement. Trying to show that we count as customers. We call it National Ammo Day."

She worked the register. "Well, I have a lot of Remington and a lot of Federal, but you guys are coming in asking for Winchester white box. I figured something was up. I'm glad we have a truck coming in Tuesday, because I am about out of value packs."

I picked up my bag. "Thanks a lot."

So, on my bench right now, I have another hundred rounds of .45 ACP and 500 rounds of .22LR. And to all the guys who came before me at that particular store, and all the folks everywhere who bought ammo today, thanks a lot. Maybe we made a statement.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Jena Choctaw

Can you say conflict of interest? Good.

Now read this article from AP and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk and tell me if a conflict of interest doesn't exist. A teaser:
WASHINGTON -- Nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed the government to reject a Louisiana Indian casino while they collected large donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.
It isn't just one party, Republicans and Democrats shared in the booty. Abramoff is an equal opportunity lobbyist.

The donations look like a Who's Who.

Denny Hastert (R-IL) $21,500 (over $100,000 total for four years)
Harry Reid (D-NV) $66,000
Jim McCrery (R-LA) $36,000
David Vitter (R-LA) $6,000, but he returned it
Tom DeLay (R-TX) $57,000

The dead tree edition lists Abramoff donations to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but those donations aren't covered in the online edition. And the list goes on and on. 33 different lawmakers took donations before writing letters to Secretary Gail Norton.

The Advocate has more, here:
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was locked in a bitter Senate race in 2002, and is listed by The Associated Press as receiving $32,000 in contributions from tribes or the lobbyists.
U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, received $36,250 through Abramoff-connected donations, The Associated Press reported. McCrery could not be reached for comment Thursday. A call placed to his office was not returned.

Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., received $27,500 in contributions related to Abramoff. Breaux wrote Norton on March 1, 2002. Five days later, the Coushattas contributed $1,000 to his campaign and $10,000 to his library fund, according to The Associated Press analysis.
Charming. Just simply friggin charming.

I'm disgusted with the whole damned bunch of them. I would love to see another casino in Central Louisiana. Preferably the Jena Choctaw, in Creola, LA. The genie is out of the bottle and the camel has his nose under the tent, as far as gambling in Louisiana is concerned. It 's time to open it up to valid competition. Give the consumer a choice. More importantly, it is time for our lawmakers to quit playing favorites.

Well said, Lieutenant!

In the article linked above, an Army lieutenant tells about her experience attending Harvard Law School. It is an interesting piece, and reflects much of what is wrong with the civilian political left. A partial quote is here:
I found that many people who claimed to value diversity and respect difference could not reconcile my presence at Harvard.
Diversity. Right. Wanna see true diversity? Join the Army.

It might surprise many people that a bunch of Army officers are Democrats and many of them are left-wing types. I worked with a bunch of them, and while no one wore insignia identifying political orientation, you know someone best who you spend a lot of time with. I. myself was a lot more liberal in the earlier years of my duty. My conservative bent came later, as I aged and matured.

Military service has nothing to do with political orientation. Military service is about performance. Pure performance. If you perform, then you are promoted to greater positions of responsibility and authority. If you don't perform, you find yourself unemployed.

Regulations proscribe certain political activities because whoever gets elected, the officers and enlisted are duty bound to follow that President. We call him the Commander-in-Chief and our willingess to follow whoever is elected is the one good guarantee that the military will always be under civil control.

I served with the rich and the poor, the Repubs and Dems and Independents. I served with liberals and conservatives. Educated and uneducated. Straight and gay. All races, citizen and non-citizen. All that mattered was performance. I didn't give a simple damn who served to my left or my right, who brought me my bullets or my beans, who treated my wounds or processed my paycheck. It just didnt' matter what their political persuasion was. Didn't matter at all. We were all brothers and we were all family. Only performance counted.

Would that Harvard Law School should experience such diversity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday Rambling

Wednesday night, and I find myself without much going on, nor much motivation to get in to anything.

Today was a quiet shift at work, and we all know that a quiet shift is a good shift.

Last night, the garage door opener died, for some strange reason. I came home fully expecting to spend most of the evening troubleshooting it. I read the instruction manual, got an idea of the wiring problems, then went out, unplugged it and disconnected the wiring. I did a voltage check and some continuity checks, then started plugging things back up to do the serious trouble-shooting. It came to life when I plugged in the main cord and it is working fine. I either inadvertantly fixed the problem while disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring, or it had an internal reset circuit that activated when I killed power to the unit. Anyway, it rebooted just fine and is working happily now.

Milady is working this evening, and that is the reason I am at loose ends. Were she home, I'd be sitting on the couch harassing her. As it is, I am without adult supervision.

Turkish mausers are a really good deal if someone is in the market for a beater rifle. They are mainly chambered for the 8mm Mauser round, which launches a 200 grain bullet at 2500 fps. That ought to be sufficient for just about anything on the North American continent. Those rifles are running in the hundred dollar range, and it looks like one could be made into a fine beater rifle for a hundred more. Something to think about for the after-Christmas, deep winter blues. Working on a rifle is a good thing.

I'm confused about the effort it will require to rebuild South Louisiana, and it seems as if some of the efforts will be working against each other. For example, some folks want levees so that New Orleans will be safe from a storm surge. They can't insurance unless there is some guarantee that the area won't flood again, so they need levees to geet insurance to rebuild.

However, levees channelize water. The big levee system along the Mississippi did just fine during the latest storm, yet those same levees that hold the river, also prevent the water from entering the marsh. That fresh water entering the marsh, with its rich load of silt, is what makes the marsh in the first place.

A big portion of South Louisiana has been channelized for oil exploration and flood control. I was taught that those levees contributed to marshland loss and the best thing we could do for the marshes would be to bulldoze the levees and let the silt rebuild the marshes. When we bulldoze the levees, we lose flood protection.

So, how do we intend to rebuild marshes while we build levees? It is a quandry, and minds better than mine surely have the answer. Feel free to educate me in comments.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Place names

Reading the Daily Wipe today, I found this article, with this picture:

And, the caption:
Pollock Mayor Jerome Scott (left) meets Katrina, a kitten that the Rimkus family found in a wall of their destroyed house in Alluvial City in St. Bernard Parish. The Rimkus family includes parents John (from left) and Brenda, and their children, Sabrina and John III, all of whom have decided to make Pollock their home.
Pollock, LA is just up the road from my house, and the Mayor, the Right Honorable, Most Distinguished Jerome Scott, is a close personal friend of mine. That photo is small town politics at its best.

Jerome hates cats.

I was struck by the name of their last home. Alluvial, LA. Why doesn't it come as any surprise that a town named Alluvial might have a problem with water, or flooding?

I'm glad they're here in Central Lousiana. I'm sorry for their loss, but jeez, people, the town was named Alluvial. How predictive is that? If you read the whole article, you learn that their house was run over by a yacht.
Their house, which John Rimkus Jr. said was more than 100 years old, was struck by a yacht.

"If the doggone yacht hadn't hit it, it'd still be standing," John Rimkus Jr. said.

There is just too damned much irony here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush Comeback

Reading the Town Talk, I found this article out of the Associated Press, talking about thelong road our President is on to recover his numbers. They give a lot of analysis, but I think the President's troubles are much more easily solved.

He needs to start acting like a Republican.

The recent gubernatioral elections don't really show any trend. Two Democratic governors were replaced by two Democratic governors.

George W. Bush has pissed off the people who put him in office, simply because he doesn't do the things we want him to do. His domestic mandate was to control immigration, reduce spending and push forward the conservative agenda. Smaller government, less intrusive bureaucracy, cut spending programs. He has failed in those tasks.

Hell, he can't even get a Rebublican congress to vote with him. The north Louisiana Congressman, Jim McCrery, voted against him last week.

President Bush needs to start acting like a Republican, a small government Republican. His base will follow.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Memory Lane

Surfing over at the Smallest Minority, I stumbled across this article about the garage gun industry in Pakistan. The weapon pictured is the M3 submachine gun, and looking at the picture brought back memories of being a tank commander in the mid 1970's. I shamelessly stole the picture from the Smallest Minority.

That is the whole thing. About as basic as a firearm can get, and it only fires in full auto, and it fires that big ole .45 ball ammo, the same stuff that rides in your 1911. You can see the full size picture here.

The only problem I ever found with the M3 was that it got hot after a hundred rounds or so. Wearing gloves while firing it was a good idea. Wearing gloves and being sure the barrel was securely screwed to the receiver. Launching your barrel downrange was considered poor form.

The M3 was the first weapon I qualified with after I got my commission. The course was fired on a fifty-meter pistol course with half-sized popup silhouettes, and it was a frigging hoot. The targets would pop up and we would hammer them down in a burst of .45 ACP. The M3 was the damndest weapon I ever saw and I remember thinking I could replicate it in my grandfathers machine shop. I had to buy one after my knuckleheaded driver ran over it with my M60A1. After depreciation, I wrote the government a check for $3.21. An M3 was a bargain in the'70s.

The Guide Lamp division of GM made a gazillion of these things during WWII and charged the gummint about $21.00 apiece for them. Quite the frugal weapon for the discriminating tanker. I bet the guys in Iraq could use a couple of crates of them for clearing rooms. I know that the M3 would be the cats whiskers in an urban environment.

Toss a WP grenade into a room, then follow it up with a burst of M3 fire. Extremely effective, as long as prisoners weren't a criteria.

I wish I had one hanging in the closet.